BUSCH: Charlotte II: Paul Menard preview

First Career Busch Pole at Kansas Adds Major Momentum as Menard and the ...

First Career Busch Pole at Kansas Adds Major Momentum as Menard and the #11 DEI Chevrolet Team Head to Charlotte

CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 12, 2004) -- With one major milestone behind them, Paul Menard and his Dale Earnhardt, Inc., teammates head to Friday night's NASCAR Busch Series race on the 1.5-mile speedway here with another one firmly in their sights.

Menard, the 24-year-old from Eau Claire, scored his first career Busch series pole last weekend at Kansas Speedway, coming in only his eighth race with the team he joined forces with midway through the season. Now, the #11 Menards/Moen Chevrolet team from DEI hopes to help get the Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender all the way to Victory Lane starting with this weekend's 300-mile event.

Last Saturday afternoon on the outskirts of Kansas City, Menard led the 43-car pack to the starting line but quickly found he was fighting an uphill battle against an extreme understeer condition as soon as the green flag flew. No matter, Menard soldiered home 17th and left feeling more determined than ever to help his teammates piece together that virtually perfect weekend necessary to score a victory on the ever-competitive Busch series circuit.

"I felt after qualifying at Kansas that the snowball is fairly small, now, but it's gathering momentum and hopefully we'll be able to make it into a huge one before too long," said Menard, who finished 19th here at Charlotte in May driving what turned out to be his next-to-last of 14 races this season in a Menards-sponsored Andy Petree Racing Chevrolet. "We definitely have all of the necessary pieces of the puzzle for success. We have great DEI power. We have great talent in the body and chassis shops. The pole at Kansas really came as no surprise because we all know what we're capable of doing. We just need to get those puzzle pieces in the right places all through each race weekend, and then we can definitely be a consistent force out there. We're getting there, for sure, as you saw at Kansas. We're moving the needle just a little bit more every week. I just hope we can carry it another giant step further on the track at Charlotte."

Practice for Friday night's 300-mile race begins at 11 a.m. EDT Thursday, followed by qualifying at 5:30 p.m. EDT and a live broadcast set for SPEED-TV. Race time Friday is 8 p.m. EDT with live coverage on the TNT cable network.

-dei/mr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Andy Petree , Paul Menard